5 tips ahead of open enrollment 2016

The open enrollment 2016 season is here for many, and it's time to think about your benefits. While it can be daunting to figure out benefits, it's a good idea to ask questions and do some research. During open enrollment, you'll be able to change your benefits or add new benefits depending on the selection of benefits available to you.

And, if you don't pay attention, you might automatically be enrolled in similar benefits, which won't work if you have different healthcare needs. So, if you ask questions before open enrollment starts, you'll better understand the available options for you and your family.

Of course, a Flexible Spending Account could be part of the package - so, if you have questions or want to learn more, now's a good time to investigate how FSAs work!

Here are 5 tips ahead of open enrollment 2016:

1 Familiarize yourself more with an FSA. Are you considering re-enrolling in an FSA? Thinking of signing up? Now is a good moment to review what exactly is covered. FSAs can cover lots of expenses - whether it's office visits to medical providers, or thousands of over-the-counter products. If you'd like to learn what's covered by the plan, consult your HR department or FSA administrator. You can also review the Summary Plan Description. The Summary Plan Description tells you about FSA eligible expenses. You can also browse the FSA Eligibility List to discover FSA eligible expenses!

2. Update contributions. If you're signing up for an FSA again, you want to estimate how much you think you'll spend for the year. The maximum contribution for FSAs is $2,550. Contribution limits vary per plan, though. Need help calculating expenses? Use our FSA Calculator to calculate the savings with an FSA and get an estimate per expense type.

3. Make changes to your FSA. As with many benefits during open enrollment, you'll have a chance to make changes to how much you contribute to your FSA. For example, if you experienced what's known as a "qualifying life event," meaning a major life change such as getting married, having a baby or more, you may be able to qualify to make changes to your FSA. Ask your FSA administrator about this, or at your HR department.

4. Consider other types of FSAs. If you have a family, you may be able to also get aDependent Care FSA. Open enrollment will let you opt in, if that plan is available to you.

5. Stay on top of deadlines, your balance, and plan-year extensions. Flexible Spending Accounts have different deadlines or plan-year extensions, depending on how the plan is structured. Some FSAs have a carryover up to $500 to the next plan year, or a grace period, which allows you to spend your FSA money for an additional two and a half months after the plan deadline. It's important to monitor your FSA balance to make sure you maximize your FSA!

Shop for products you'll need with your FSA at FSAstore.com

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